‘Clumsy’ resolution risks alienating EU from Kazakhstan, MEP says

Ivo Hristov in a 30 September 2019 photo. [European Parliament Multimedia Centre]

The European Parliament’s recent resolution on Kazakhstan is “clumsy” and detrimental both for the bilateral relations and the credibility of the EU, Bulgarian MEP Ivo Hristov (S&D) told EURACTIV on Wednesday (3 March).

Last month the EU assembly passed with 598 votes in favour, 43 against and 52 abstentions a resolution that is highly critical of the human rights situation in Kazakhstan and of the way the recent parliamentary elections were held there.

EURACTIV understands that a fugitive former banker from Kazakhstan, Mukhtar Ablyazov, who lives in France, has used its wealth to influence MEPs to bash the authorities of his home country. Ablyazov is the leader of the DVK party, highly critical of the Kazakh government, which was labelled extremist by the authorities and banned in 2018.

EU-Kazakhstan relations have successfully developed over the years. In its EU agenda, Kazakhstan, a country rich in natural minerals, seeks to have an “EU anchor” to counterbalance its powerful neighbours, China and Russia, as well as to develop economic relations with EU countries, which together constitute its number one investor.

Hristov, who is a member of the EP Delegation to the EU-Kazakhstan, EU-Kyrgyzstan, EU-Uzbekistan and EU-Tajikistan Parliamentary Cooperation Committees, voiced his regret at the “clumsy” resolution.

“The resolution on Kazakhstan is a clumsy attempt to force processes in a country that is following its own pace of modernisation,” Hristov stressed.

“The EP devotes much of its time to resolutions on democracy issues in third countries. This useless zeal erodes its authority, especially in combination with the EU’s forgiving view of democracy issues within the Union,” he underlined.

Hristov, a journalist by background, mentioned Hungary and Poland as the best-known examples of EU member countries where democracy is constantly eroded and added that is taking place in other countries as well.

Asked how the EU should better use its influence to positively impact countries in its neighbourhood, he said:

“We should leave behind the delusion that we are a universal model and we should uphold democratic values ​​with economic instruments, without preaching pathos. This is how we will preserve our credibility.”

[Edited by Zoran Radosavljevic]


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